Sharing Spanish

Granados points to his ear while quizzing a participant.

Omar Granados, Associate Professor of Global Cultures and Languages points to his ear as he teaches Spanish vocabulary related to the body part to a Gundersen Health System Global Partners volunteer who plans to use her new skills in Nicaragua to help improve access to healthcare screenings and more.

UWL students teach local health volunteers foreign language, culture

UWL student Sara Seymour never expected to find herself teaching a class — but when the opportunity to educate popped up, she thought it would be fun.

“It’s been great to use this skill I have outside of the classroom.”

Seymour is one of four students who, alongside UWL faculty, taught beginning medical Spanish and cultural literacy to Gundersen Health System’s Global Partners volunteers. “It’s been great to use this skill I have outside of the classroom,” says the biomedical science major and Spanish minor.

UWL Department of Global Cultures and Languages Assistant Professor Megan Strom and Associate Professor Omar Granados collaborated with History Professor Víctor Macías-González to create sessions focusing on beginning medical Spanish and cultural literacy.

During the language sessions, each UWL language student taught a short lesson they had prepared to help participants master one grammatical skill. The students were also tasked with correcting the participants’ weekly homework and participating in role plays for the participants to learn basic background information and attempt to diagnose an illness.

Twenty-five volunteers participated in the eight sessions. Many of them have traveled or hope to head to Nicaragua. They plan to collaborate with Nicaraguan medical providers to improve access to cervical and breast cancer screening and education, nursing education and training, vascular surgery and training and vision care.

The students’ time was funded by a 2018 College of Liberal Studies Promoting Liberal Education Grant. Seymour hopes this opportunity can continue and expand. “Learning the language is necessary, especially in healthcare,” says Seymour. “Language can be a huge barrier, or it can be a great way to build trust and give confidence to patients.”

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